Milk pies, cheese muffs and more!

JAPANESe pancake.

Tokyo Milk Cheese Factory, a Japanese dessert shop brand, is well-known in Asia for its signature milk pies, its soft and fluffy Japanese pancakes and its crispy waffles. Its Cow Cow Kitchen milk pies, in particular, are to die for. The light, crispy and flaky cream pie puffs filled with a generous amount of Hokkaido milk cream are simply heavenly, with impeccably smooth cream filling combining with the crunch and texture of the puff pastry to make the perfect bite. And the Japanese pancakes? They come in three variants — Summer Berry, Crème Brûlée and Chocolate — all velvety smooth and melt-in-the-mouth good. The Crispy Waffles, meanwhile, offer four choices — Classic, Caramel Banana, Summer Berry and Cheese — each making a perfect all-day breakfast experience.

Small wonder anybody who gets to taste these ends up loving them, thus propelling the dessert place to international fame and paving the way for the brand’s presence in different parts of Asia, including Thailand, Indonesia, Korea and, yes, the Philippines.

Tokyo Milk Cheese Factory opened its first Philippine store in 2016, initially offering the brand’s iconic milk cheesecakes, creamy ice cream and irresistible cookies. By 20 December 2019, it had evolved and opened its first ever café in the country — and its flagship store, as well — at Ayala Malls Manila Bay. This was immediately followed by the opening of a much-awaited branch at Estancia Mall, Capitol Commons, in Pasig city on 5 January 2020. I-Foods Group Inc., whose restaurant brands include Peri-Peri Charcoal Chicken and Wafu Japanese Restaurant, made this possible.

“The Filipino market has an evolved taste with a particular liking for Japanese culture and, most especially, its cuisine. Filipinos are very appreciative of different kinds of flavors because we like trying new things. Tokyo Milk Cheese Factory Café aims to cater to the adventurous side of the Filipinos’ palate,” Bryan Tiu, president of I-Foods Group Inc., explains why he decided to bring in the brand and push for the opening of its first ever café in the Philippines.

The trend would have continued and more TMCF Cafés could have opened, as the local restaurant scene was enjoying a tremendous boom back then. People had, after all, acquired the habit of dining out and buying delightful eats to bring home for the whole family to enjoy. But then the pandemic — and the inevitable lockdown — happened in March 2020, and the restaurant industry took one of the biggest blows.

Like majority of the restaurants in Metro Manila, and the entire country for that matter, Tokyo Milk Cheese Factory took a break for a while until lockdown regulations relaxed and dine-in was allowed, albeit still following certain restrictions. TMCF took the cue from there, and now its two cafés have re-opened — and while it has limited its café items to a manageable number, new products have recently been introduced and the Fresh Pastries line of its subsidiary brand, Cow Cow Kitchen, has just welcomed two new additions — cheese puffs and Choco Almond Milk Pies.

Both are as delicious and satisfying as Cow Cow Kitchen’s signature milk pies and Classic Waffles.

The cheese puffs are slightly smaller than the best-selling Milk Pies. They are a soft choux pastry topped with a Parmesan crust and filled with luscious Hokkaido cream.

The Choco Almond Milk Pies are like the signature milk pies given a chocolate twist. They are drizzled with dark chocolate ganache, sprinkled with almond chunks, and dusted with dark cocoa and powdered sugar.

Come to think of it, it is Cow Cow Kitchen’s Fresh Pastries selections that kept Tokyo Milk Cheese Factory afloat during the pandemic. Handy, deliciously comforting to eat, and easy to order for delivery or pick-up, these Fresh Pastries turned out to be the brand’s best-sellers during the difficult pandemic months and even now.

Also gaining popularity is another new product that has been rolled out recently: Burnt Basque cheesecake. Tokyo Milk Cheese Factory’s version is an aromatic cheesecake with a beautifully burnt-looking exterior and a creamy center, made using the freshest milk, milk-cream, cheese and eggs. With the addition of burnt Basque cheesecake, the brand now offers three choices, with the first two being milk cheesecake (Hokkaido cream and milk blended into a layer of cheese mousse and a layer of milk mousse, covered with a moist crepe) and tiramisu cheesecake (fluffy cocoa sponge cake soaked in coffee syrup, layered with tiramisu cream made from Hokkaido mascarpone and French cream cheese and wrapped in a moist crepe).

The café items may have been streamlined to adapt to the new normal, but Tokyo Milk Cheese Factory has created a new category that better addresses the new food needs of Filipinos after experiencing the pandemic. It is called Group Platters, each of which is good for six to eight people. So far, there are three choices: Baked Three-Cheese Lasagna Platter (creamy lasagna with mozzarella, Parmesan, TMCF’s special cheese sauce with mascarpone, and tomato meat sauce, topped with crispy Japanese breadcrumbs); Gourmet Sandwiches Platter (a mix of TMCF’s four delicious sandwiches); and Hayashi Beef Platter (beef strips with sweet onion, demi-glace tomato sauce and eggs).

Savory and sweet treats with lots of milk and cheese to make them even more delightful to the palate… Now, you can go to Tokyo Milk Cheese Factory to enjoy them.

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